From: Phoenix, Arizona
Addiction is a Silent Killer
Addiction is a Silent Killer
Why do I believe we as a nation are dealing with an addiction crisis?
The year 2018 was a very tough year for myself and my family. In 2018 my mother lost her battle to addiction. In 2018 she overdosed on prescription medication. In 2018 I wondered, “How did we get here? What did we do wrong?” That’s just the thing though. There is nothing anyone could’ve done. My mother could’ve done something for herself but the chances of that are so low with the likelihood of rehab working for her the first time. This country deals with such hardship when it comes to addiction. It affects everyone in some way, shape or form. But how? People are brought into the world of addiction, often, innocently. My mother for example had a large amount of health problems that seemed to set her up from the start. Endometriosis causing a hysterectomy, kidney stones, once 12 at one time, gallbladder removal, an so on. Doctors graciously plopped pain killers in her lap to removal the excruciating pain she was experiencing. Eventually this lead to the point of her tolerance building and needed more. They continued to feed this hunger inside her and it continued for years. All over the nation were are given pills to cover up the pain instead of actually dealing with the cause. It isn’t always the doctor’s fault. But that seems to be the way the nation thinks these problems are resolve. And due to this mindset, my mother will never attend my wedding, she will never meet her grandchildren and she will never see me accomplish all the things that a mother should.
What are the consequences of this addiction for the individual and society?
In my personal experience of dealing with my mother’s addiction, I’ve lived through the consequences it came with. My mother graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree. So smart and intelligent from the start. She was the breadwinner for my family for the longest time. Over the years as her addiction grew it controlled her life. She lost her job that provided us with a luxury lifestyle. She then would get high and sleep in bed all day. She always said she was looking for a job, but we knew she didn’t want one. It was easier to be high at home. Because of this, we lost our house and had to move to a pretty bad area that later led to break ins and occasional neighborhood cop visits. She then totaled 5 cars when driving under the influence – not once ever arrested. I didn’t understand how it could continue. Finally, the family split. My dad had tried to make it work and help her for years but you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help. Of course this didn’t go over well. My mother went insane as the klonopin pumped through her veins. My brother and I called klonopin the devil drug, because essentially, that’s who my mother became. She physically fought my dad, she fought my brother and I and finally we helped my father escape. For obvious reasons, this didn’t go over well, leading to my mother walking around our house with the loaded revolver we kept for protection due to those past break-ins. She held the revolver to her head and said you guys would be happier if I just died. We fought to get into her room as she locked herself inside. I called her parents, my grandparents, on my phone while dialing 9-1-1 on the other. She later was omitted to the psych-ward of our local hospital and was released in two days. Months go by and mother’s house goes into foreclosure. We had to pack everything up and move into my grandparents. Thankfully, I was attending college as a freshman at the time so I could escape the “withdrawal rages”, as my brother and I called them. But my little brother was left behind. I continued to come see him and take him away from the chaos of my grandparents trying to push my mother to get help and her backfiring. My brother eventually moved into my dad’s place which left me with a little comfort for his sake. Unfortunately, it didn’t end here. My grandparents left for their 50th wedding anniversary trip and my mother decided this is the best time to get high so they aren’t there to burden her. The next morning we woke up at my dad’s to find him stumbling over the words and tears to tell us our mother was dead. This story that I have lived alone can explain what addiction can do to a person and a society.
How can we remedy the crisis on both the individual and societal level?
I believe the place to start to relieve this nation of this epidemic is to stop placing pills into the mouths of everyone that says they feel pain. Instead, we should educate our doctors and nurses on how to manage pain until the cause can be detected. My mother ‘hospital hopped’ to get the medications that she needed. We need to develop a system that allows doctors to detect this sooner and keep it from happening. This is something that will take time, but raising awareness and legalizing medical marijuana could be a very helpful tool. Marijuana has less chances of addiction and it also isn’t made in a lab. It’s grown from the earth and doesn’t contain these harsh chemicals the way that other pain killers do. I don’t think that pain killers should be rid of completely but I do believe that the need to use and provide them should be decreased.